When can babies eat eggs?
You can introduce eggs as soon as your baby is ready for solids, which is usually around 6 months of age. Eggs are a wonderful first food for babies as they contain many key nutrients they need for optimal growth. Eggs are a common food allergen so consider starting with small quantities of well-cooked egg (whites and yolks) and work up to larger portions over time.
Are eggs good for babies?
Yes! Eggs are a terrific source of protein, essential fats, iron, and zinc—specific nutrients that babies need to thrive and grow. In fact, eggs, and particularly the yolks, contain all vitamins with the exception of vitamin C and are one of the best sources of choline, an important nutrient for cellular growth, brain development, and bone building. Lastly, eggs are one of the only food sources of vitamin D. Note: Eggs from chickens raised outside will have higher amounts of vitamin D than those from chickens raised inside industrial coops. Eggs from free-range, pastured chickens will also likely be lower in chemicals and endocrine disruptors that can affect growth hormones and cell growth.
While eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you gave give to your baby, make sure all parts of the egg are fully cooked. Eggs may contain salmonella, which can result in a bacterial disease in the intestinal tract.
Are eggs a common choking hazard?
They can be. The best preparation of eggs for babies starting solids is via an omelet, which not only reduces the risk of choking compared to, say, a hard boiled egg, but integrates the nutritious yolk into each bite.
Are eggs a common food allergen?
Yes. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), egg allergies are among the most common food allergies, second only to milk. The good news is that many children outgrow egg allergies.
If you are introducing eggs to your baby for the first time, it’s recommended to start small, such as one piece of an omelet, and watch carefully for signs of allergy or sensitivity. Some babies can have severe reactions to even the smallest amount of
eggs. Allergic reactions may include watery eyes, hives, rashes, wheezing, itching, facial swelling, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and tummy cramps. If the reaction is severe and/or if your baby’s face is flushed or if she is having trouble breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately as your baby may be experiencing anaphylactic shock.
While fear of food allergies seems to be at an all-time high, modern science is demonstrating benefits of introducing food allergens as soon as baby starts solids. For tips on introducing common food allergens, see the guide below.
How do you prepare eggs for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Make an omelet (making sure the egg inside is fully cooked and not runny) and cut rectangular strips for your baby to hold with their fist. To encourage self-feeding, hand the egg strip to your baby in the air. Once your baby’s pincer grasp develops (where the thumb and pointer finger meet), move on to the next stage. At this age you can also incorporate egg into any dish as long as the egg is well cooked.
9 to 12 months old: Continue with rectangular omelet strips until your baby’s pincer grasp forms (where the thumb meets the pointer finger) at which point you can cut those same strips into little bite size squares. This is also an excellent time to introduce hard-boiled eggs (quarter or slice in thin rounds with an egg slicer) and egg salad.
12 to 24 months old: At this age you may find yourself not thinking about how to serve eggs because your baby has gotten so good at eating them! Note that it’s not uncommon for babies who once loved eggs as 6 month olds to stop eating eggs after their first birthday. Some suggest this may be an increased awareness to the smell. If this happens to you, don’t worry and try introducing eggs in fun shapes, using cookie cutters, muffin tins, and other fun presentations.
For more information on how to cut food for your baby’s age, hop over to our section on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Can babies eat hard-boiled eggs?
Yes, though hard-boiled eggs present more of a choking hazard and are challenging for 6 to 9 month olds to pick up. While you could certainly offer your baby hard-boiled eggs cut into strips for safety, preparing them as an omelet is less time-consuming and fully integrates the fatty yolk into the meal, making it more likely for your baby to get that nutritious yolk into her belly. If you do decide to offer hard-boiled eggs before 9 months old, we recommend smashing them into an egg salad with a little breast milk or formula to integrate the yolk more fully and lower the choking risk.
★ Tip: Put those leftover veggies from dinner in a container for an omelet in the morning. Leftover steamed broccoli, sautéed onions, roasted peppers and even cauliflower will all fold in nicely and taste good.
Recipe: Baby's First Eggs
Age: 6 months+
- 4 eggs
- Water, breast milk, or formula
- Olive oil
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk well, adding a little water, breast milk or formula.
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium with some olive oil and when it’s hot, pour the egg mixture in, lower the heat to medium-low, and cover.
- Cook the eggs as an open-face omelet for a few minutes and then once the eggs are relatively set and firm, fold them in half with a spatula and cook a bit longer until the inside of the omelet is completely done.
- Cool completely and cut in strips to serve.
Eggs taste wonderful with many things, including cheese, onions and leftover veggies, such as steamed broccoli or sautéed spinach. Eggs also present a great opportunity to introduce new spices to your baby’s palate. Finely chopped fresh or dried herbs such as chives, parsley, thyme or oregano work nicely.